The Noble Spanish Soldier
by Thomas Dekker
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Thomas Dekker is believed to have been born in London around 1572, but nothing is known for certain about his youth. He embarked on a career as a theatre writer early in his adult life, the first extant text of his work being 'Old Fortunatus' written around 1596, although there are plays connected with his name which were performed as early as 1594. The period from 1596 to 1602 was the most prolific of his career, with 20 plays being attributed to him and an involvement in up to 28 other plays being suggested. It was during this period that he produced his most famous work, 'The Shoemaker's Holiday, or the Gentle Craft', categorised by modern critics as citizen comedy, it reflects his concerns with the daily lives of ordinary Londoners. This play exemplifies his vivid use of language and the intermingling of everyday subjects with the fantastical, embodied in this case by the rise of a craftsman to Mayor and the involvement of an unnamed but idealised king in the concluding banquet.

He exhibited a similar vigour in such prose pamphlets as the ironically entitled 'The Wonderfull Yeare' (1603), about the plague, 'The Belman of London' (1608), about roguery and crime, and 'The Guls Horne-Booke' (1609), a valuable account of behaviour in the London theatres.

Dekker was partly responsible for devising the street entertainment to celebrate the entry of James I into London in 1603 and he managed the Lord Mayor's pageant in 1612. His fortunes took a turn for the worse shortly after, when between 1613 and 1619 he was imprisoned, probably for debt; this experience may be behind his six prison scenes first included in the sixth edition (1616) of Sir Thomas Overbury's 'Characters'. He died in 1632 and was buried at St James', Clerkenwell.



The first clear reference to the play is dated as 16 May 1631 when an entry was made in the Stationer's Register, effectively licensing texts for publication. The entry, made for John Jackman, referred to manuscripts of two plays by 'Tho: Dekker', these being 'The Wonder of a Kingdom' and 'a Tragedy called The Noble Spanish Soldier'. A similar entry was made on 9 December 1633, this time for Nicholas Vavasour. The play was printed in a quarto version in 1634, probably by John Beale, on behalf of Vavasour, who initialled the foreword entitled 'The Printer to The Reader'.

Sources, Authorship and Date

These aspects of the play have attracted more critical attention than all others combined, reference frequently being made to the following known facts:

(1) Although the entries in the Stationer's Register refer unambiguously to Dekker as the author, the title page of the Quarto states that the play is written by 'S.R.', the only Jacobean playwright with those initials being Samuel Rowley.

(2) It has been observed, initially by nineteenth century scholar A. H. Bullen, that three sections of a play by John Day called 'The Parliament of Bees' are nearly identical to sections of NSS. Furthermore a further five sections correspond closely to parts of 'The Wonder of a Kingdom' which as is noted above, was registered alongside NSS in 1931.

(3) In 1601, theatre manager Philip Henslow made part payment for an anonymous play called 'The Spanish Fig', no text of which survives under that name.

(4) In April 1624 a poster appeared in Norwich advertising a touring play, being 'An excellent Comedy called The Spanish Contract' to be performed by Lady Elizabeth's men, a company with which Dekker is believed to have had connections.

(5) There is some evidence of confusion in how the play has been compiled for printing, in particular, a cast list which omits several significant characters, the late appearance of two pointless characters (Signor No and Juanna) and the delayed identification of Alanzo as Captain of the Guard. These have been argued to be evidence of revision of an earlier work.

(6) Dekker's 'The Welsh Embassador' reworked much of the material in NSS, albeit in a comedic form. This is generally dated as c1623.

As may be imagined, these facts offer a considerable range of possibilities as to authorship and provenance of the play. Various critics, such as Fleay and Bullen, have tried to make sense of all of them by postulating, largely without evidence, a variety of permutations of collaboration and revision so as to give all of the authorship candidates a role in the production of the text we now have. The most persuasive contribution however, comes from Julia Gasper who, building on work by R. Koeppel, convincingly identifies the source of NSS as being Volume V of Jacques-Augueste de Thou's Latin 'Historiarum Sui Temporis', published in 1620 .

The de Thou volume tells of how Henri IV of France reneged on a written promise of marriage to Hentiette d'Entragues, by marrying Marie be Medicis in 1600; both women bore sons by the King, who is later assassinated. This closely anticipates the marriage plot of NSS but the critical detail which seals the identification of de Thou as the source, is his reference to a soldier called Balthazare Sunica who acted against the King and was clearly, the original of the character Balthazar in NSS. This evidence demonstrates that the earliest date for composition of NSS is 1620. Furthermore, due to the likelihood that NSS predated 'The Welsh Embassador' of 1623/4, a last possible date for the writing of NSS, can also be deduced and a composition date of around 1622 can be established with some certainty.

With respect to the relationship with other plays, any connection with the 'The Spanish Fig' would seem to be ruled out on the grounds that it pre-dates the publication of de Thou's Historiarum. In the case of the later play 'The Spanish Contract', a connection is possible although any theories that may be advanced little more than conjecture. One such theory, put forward by Tirthanker Bose , is that 'the Spanish Contract' is a version of NSS, reworked as a comedy and thus is an intermediate stage on the road to 'The Welsh Embassador'.

The more pressing matter, the question of the connection with 'The Parliament of Bees', is also addressed by Julia Gasper. The crucial evidence here relates to instances where details, meaningful only in the context of NSS, have become embedded in the text of 'The Parliament of Bees'. The most significant example of this occurs in Scene 1, Line 29 of 'The Parliament of Bees' where a character asks 'Is Master Bee at leisure to speak Spanish / With a Bee of Service?'. There is no connection between 'The Parliament of Bees' and Spain or indeed, the Spanish language, so it would seem strong evidence that NSS was the source for 'The Parliament of Bees' and not the other way around. This evidence is supplemented by an analysis of NSS, Act 2 Scene 1, a scene common to both plays, when Balthazar sets out his credentials of loyal service in seeking to advise the King. Gasper points out that this scene in NSS contains elements from de Thou, not to be found in The Parliament of Bees, principally the need to intervene on behalf of Onaelia. The only plausible order of composition for the plays therefore places NSS before 'The Parliament of Bees'. Furthermore as Day's name has never been associated with NSS, there is no reason to suppose he was involved in its composition. The likelihood is therefore that he was lifting dialogue from an earlier work by another writer in order to serve his own convenience.

The remaining question to be considered concerns the relative claims to authorship of Dekker and Rowley. In weighing the evidence, it is important to consider that that the first records, those on the Stationer's Register, unequivocally record Dekker as the sole author. Furthermore, textual scholarship is happy to place NSS within the Dekker cannon, while, as Hoy says 'no scholar has ever succeeded in demonstrating Rowley's share in the play' . Given that is has been established that the play post-dates 1620, the possibility of a Dekker revision of an earlier Rowley text would appear to be implausible. The attribution to 'S.R.' remains unexplained, although it may be noted in passing that the initials are the final letters of Dekker's names, so it may just be a coded reference to Dekker. More likely perhaps, it could be the result of the editorial confusion which also pervades the compilation of the cast list.


There is no firm record of the play being performed, although the foreword does make mention of it being enthusiastically received. Such references are not, of course, to be taken at face value as they would hardly be expected to say anything else; nevertheless, it does strongly suggest that the play has been staged. In practice, the printing of a text suggests either high popularity, in which case sales could be expected to compensate for possible plagiarism, or else relative unpopularity in which case publication was a last attempt to generate some financial return before the play was discarded. In this instance, the later circumstance is likely to obtain, especially in view of the gap between writing and publication dates.


The sub-title given to the text in the Quarto edition is 'A contract Broken, Justly Revenged'. Although this title is likely to have been added by the printers, it does succinctly sum up one aspect the play, the theme of revenge which is reminiscent of Elizabethan revenge plays such as Thomas Kidd's 'The Spanish Tragedy'. Revenge plays however, are generally patterned around a revenger and what may be termed a 'revengee', while the action of NSS revolves around a power struggle between two factions both of whom are concerned with violent intent. In reality, the play reflects the seventeenth century fashion for mixing elements of tragedy and comedy in a style first identified by Sir Philip Sydney in 1579 as being 'mongrel tragicomedy'; thus while death intrudes on the final act, it only strikes unsympathetic characters. There is also regular light relief provided by two comic characters, Cornego and Cockadillio, as well the cameo appearances of Signor No and Medina as a French Doctor.

The two groups of characters at the centre of the play are on one hand, the ruling cabal, that is the King, his Italian Queen and their supporters, including the Italian Malateste and on the other a number of disenchanted Spanish noblemen who are in sympathy with the King's former betrothed lover, Onaelia. This later faction, led by the Duke of Medina, eventually includes the key figure of the patriotic soldier Balthazar, a man who has earned respect for his martial exploits and whose 'nobility', as celebrated in the title to the play, is a tribute earned by action rather than by birth or inheritance. He is thus differentiated from the King, whose nobility of birth is cancelled out by the dishonesty of his character.

Nevertheless, Balthazar is something of a problematic figure and in many ways an unconvincing hero for a play with ostensibly, a strong moral theme. His basic character is presented as that of an honest uncomplicated soldier; in his first appearance(2.1), he has already been slighted by the Dons, and presents an unkempt appearance and rails against the 'pied-winged butterflies' of the effete court who put appearance before patriotic duty. Nevertheless, subterfuge seems to come too readily to him as we see in 2.2 when he makes a false offer to assassinate the King to test Onaelia, again in 3.3 when he pretends to agree to murder Sebastian and Onaelia in order to placate the Queen and finally in 5.1 when he tells the King that the murder has been carried out. Scene 3.3 shows a further unedifying side of Balthazar when he bursts in on the King and stabs a servant and refuses to express remorse as the servant is a mere groom. On a different note, the character is also used to comic effect, especially in 4.2 when he acts out bawdy dialogue with Cornego. His last significant act is to dissuade the faction from attempting to assassinate the King, before being reduced to a minor role in the closing scene where he only has five short speeches and plays no significant part in the denouement. The character then, is something of a patchwork affair, playing different roles as the play progresses before being effectively jettisoned at the conclusion.

The King by contrast maintains a degree of consistency, notwithstanding his formulaic deathbed renunciation of evil. As we have seen, his Queen is Italian, but he may be associated with Italy by more reasons than his marriage. In Act 5 Scene 2, Daenia says that 'There's in his breast / Both fox and lion, and both those beasts can bite' This is an direct reference to the works of the Italian courtier Niccol Machiavelli who wrote in his work on statecraft 'The Prince': 'A Prince must know how to make good use of the beasts; he should choose from among the beasts the fox and the lion; for the lion cannot defend itself from traps and the fox cannot protect itself from wolves.' . Although the book from which this extract was taken, 'The Prince', had yet to be published in English, the ideas it contained (or at least a caricature of them) had been in circulation for many years following its initial publication in Italy in 1531. These were often treated with profound suspicion by the English who saw the advocacy of the use of manipulation and deception in order to maintain power as being the idea of a disreputable foreign country. Indeed, Machiavelli was seen as a satanic figure who was known as 'Old Nick', a still-used reference to the devil, and the machiavel became a stock figure on the early modern stage, a tradition which the portrayal of the King is drawing on.

The other interesting opposition within the play is between the two claimants to the title of Queen, the current incumbent and Onaelia. There is little doubt that it is Onaelia who is the representative of virtue, her behaviour often rising above that of the 'noble' Balthazar. In Act 1 Scene 2 she makes a fearless statement in defacing the King's portrait, this being an act of treason . Despite her strong feelings however, she does not rise to Balthazar's bait when he introduces the possibility of assassinating the King; the remnants of her love for him and her concern for the stability of the realm rule this possibility out. She is not however prepared to accept her treatment without protest and, in Act 3 Scene 2, engages a poet to propagandise on her behalf. His refusal, on the grounds of self-preservation is denounced in striking terms when she accuses poets generally of being 'apt to lash / Almost to death poor wretches not worth striking / but fawn with slavish flattery on damned vices / so great men act them'. The effective conclusion of her involvement as early as the end of 3.2 impoverishes the rest of the play. The Queen's less admirable character is highlighted by the way she is prepared to condone the taking of life in order to secure her position. Her ruthless outlook is punished when she is deprived of her position and forced to return to Italy.

The final scene of the play utilises a dramatic technique that had played an important part in 'The Shoemakers' Holiday': the banquet scene. Planned by the King in an attempt to achieve reconciliation and remove the threat of Onaelia by marrying her off, it represents a means of bringing almost the entire cast on stage in order to witness the meeting out of justice. It is ironic that the King's scheme is undermined, not by his political rivals but by his allies, The Queen and Malateste, who do not believe that the marriage will provide a stable settlement and instead seek to pursue a deadlier course of action. The banquet provides the context for the unwinding of this plot as vengeance consumes itself, bring about the regime change that justice demands.


The text is based on the 1634 Quarto, as reproduced in Tudor Facsimile series in 1913. Spelling has been modernised, except in instances where to do so would change a word's pronunciation. Punctuation has also been modernised and has been used lightly in an attempt to reflect contemporary speech patterns. Contractions to words have been eliminated where this is possible without upsetting the verse rhythm; for example, 'baked' replaces 'bak'd' in 4.2.

Names have been retained as originally set out except that of the central character who name was spelt in the original as 'Baltazar'; Balthazar is the modern Anglicised version of the same name. The cast list has been newly compiled from the text of the play, rather than by reference to the one appearing in the Quarto.

All lines have been left justified, including those cases where characters share a line of verse. The speeches of Balthazar in the early part of 2.1 and again in 4.1 appear as verse in the Quarto but have been rendered as prose in this edition. This appears to makes more sense of the speech patterns and has the additional effect of making Balthazar and Cornego, the two non-aristocratic figures, the consistent prose speakers throughout the play.

Endnotes have been provided only to explicate words or terms of unusual obscurity. Numeric references to such notes are enclosed within angled brackets.

Stage directions may be identified as being a line of text preceded by a blank line, rather than by a character's name. These have been added to occasionally to ensure that all essential movements apparent from the text are set out. Where significant additions have been made, these are enclosed within square brackets. Scene divisions within acts have been deduced from the movements of characters.


Primary text:

Dekker, T. 'The Noble Spanish Soldier' - Tudor facsimiles 1913.

Secondary texts:

Bentley, G.E. 'The Jacobean and Caroline Stage' Oxford: Clarendon 1956.

Bowers, F. 'The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker', Volume IV Cambridge University Press 1961.

Bose, T. 'The Gentle Craft of Revision in Thomas Dekker's last Plays' Institut f_r Anglistik und Amerikanistik 1979.

Bose T. 'The Noble Spanish Soldier' and 'The Spanish Contract' - Notes and Queries volume 40, Number 2 - 1993.

Chapman, L.S. 'Thomas Dekker and the Traditions of the English Drama' Lang 1985.

Fleay, F. G. 'A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama' - Reeves and Turner 1891.

Gasper, J. - 'The Noble Spanish Soldier', 'The Wonder of a Kingdom' and 'The Parliament of Bees': a belated solution to this long- standing problem - Durham University Journal - 1987.

Gasper, J. 'The Dragon and the Dove: The Plays of Thomas Dekker' Oxford: Clarendon 1990.

Greetam, D.C. 'Textual Scholarship An Introduction' Garland 1994.

Hoy, C. 'Introductions, notes, and commentaries to texts in 'The dramatic works of Thomas Dekker', Volume IV - Cambridge University Press 1980.

Meads, Chris 'Banquets set forth : banqueting in English Renaissance drama' - Manchester University Press 2001.

McLuskie, Kathleen. 'Dekker and Heywood : professional dramatists' - St. Martin's Press 1994.

Wells, S. 'Re-editing Shakespeare for the Modern Reader' Oxford: Clarendon -1984.


1. Gasper, J - 'The Noble Spanish Soldier', 'The Wonder of a Kingdom' and 'The Parliament of Bees': a belated solution to this long- standing problem - Durham University Journal LXXIX number 2- 1987.

2. Bose, T 'The Noble Spanish Soldier' and 'The Spanish Contract' in Notes and Queries v 40, number 2 1993.

3. Hoy, C. - Introductions, notes, and commentaries to texts in 'The dramatic works of Thomas Dekker, Volume IV, page 99 - Cambridge University Press 1980.

4. Sidney, Sir Philip, 'The Defense of Posey' in 'The Norton Anthology of English Literature, page 944 Norton 2000.

5. Machiavelli, N. 'The Prince', page 56 Penguin 2003.

6. See Bowers, F. 'The Stabbing of a Portrait in Elizabethan Tragedy' Modern language Notes, XLVII, pages 378-385 1932.

John Price University College Worcester 1 June 2004



King of Spain Cardinal, advisor to the King Count Malateste of Florence, confidant of the Queen Roderigo, Don of Spain, supporter of the King Valasco, Don of Spain, supporter of the King Lopez, Don of Spain, supporter of the King Duke of Medina, leader of the Faction Marquis Daenia, member of the Faction Alba, Don of Spain, member of the Faction Carlo, Don of Spain, member of the Faction Alanzo, Captain of the Guard, member of the Faction Sebastian, illegitimate son of the King Balthazar, a Spanish soldier Cornego, servant to Onaelia Cockadillio, a courtier Signor No A Poet

Queen of Spain, Paulina, daughter of Duke of Florence Onaelia, niece to the Duke of Medina, mother of Sebastian Juanna, maid to Onaelia Ladies in waiting

Attendants, guards


Understanding reader, I present this to your view, which has received applause in action. The poet might conceive a complete satisfaction upon the stage's approbation; but the printer rests not there, knowing that that which was acted and approved upon the stage, might be no less acceptable in print. It is now communicated to you, whose leisure and knowledge admits of reading and reason. Your judgement now this Posthumous assures himself will well attest his predecessor's endeavours to give content to men of the ablest quality, such as intelligent readers are here conceived to be. I could have troubled you with a longer epistle, but I fear to stay you from the book, which affords better words and matter than I can. So the work modestly depending in the scale of your judgement, the printer for his part craves your pardon, hoping by his promptness to do you greater service, as convenience shall enable him to give you more or better testimony of his entireness towards you.



Enter in magnificent state to the sound of loud music, the King and Queen, as from church, attended by the Cardinal, Count Malateste, Marquis Daenia, Roderigo, Valasco, Alba, Carlo, and ladies-in waiting. The King and Queen with courtly compliments salute and part. She [exits] with one half attending her. King, Cardinal and the other half stay, the King seeming angry and desirous to be rid of them. King, Cardinal, Daenia and others [remain].

KING Give us what no man here is master of: Breath. Leave us pray, my father Cardinal Can by the physic of philosophy Set all again in order. Leave us pray.

Exeunt [King and Cardinal remain].

CARDINAL How is it with you, sir?

KING As with a ship Now beat with storms, now safe. The storms are vanished And having you my Pilot, I not only See shore, but harbour; I to you will open The book of a black sin, deep printed in me. Oh father, my disease lies in my soul.

CARDINAL The old wound sir?

KING Yes that, it festers inwards. For though I have a beauty to my bed That even creation envies at, as wanting Stuff to make such another, yet on her pillow I lie by her, but an adulterer, And she as an adulteress. She is my queen And wife, yet but my strumpet though the church Set on the seal of marriage. Good Onaelia, Niece to our Lord High Constable of Spain Was precontracted mine.

CARDINAL Yet when I stung Your conscience with remembrance of the act Your ears were deaf to counsel.

KING I confess it.

CARDINAL Now to untie the knot with your new Queen Would shake your crown half from your head.

KING Even Troy, though she has wept her eyes out, Would find tears to wail my kingdom's ruins.

CARDINAL What will you do then?

KING She has that contract written, sealed by you, And other churchmen witnesses unto it. A kingdom should be given for that paper.

CARDINAL I would not, for what lies beneath the moon, Be made a wicked engine to break in pieces That holy contract.

KING 'Tis my soul's aim To tie it upon a faster knot.

CARDINAL I do not see How you can with safe conscience get it from her.

KING Oh I know I wrestle with a lioness. To imprison her And force her to it, I dare not. Death! What King Did ever say 'I dare not'? I must have it; A bastard have I by her, and that cock Will have, I fear, sharp spurs, if he crow after Him that trod for him. Something must be done Both to the hen and the chicken. Haste you therefore To sad Onaelia, tell her I'm resolved To give my new hawk bells, and let her fly. My Queen, I'm weary of, and her will marry. To this, our text, add you what gloss you please; The secret drifts of kings are depthless seas.



A table set out covered with black. Two waxen tapers. The King's [defaced] picture at one end and a crucifix at the other. Onaelia [dressed in black] walking discontentedly weeping to the crucifix.

A Song.

QUESTION Oh sorrow, sorrow, say where do'st thou dwell?

ANSWER In the lowest room of hell.

QUESTION Art thou born of human race?

ANSWER No, no. I have a fury's face.

QUESTION Art thou in city, town or court?

ANSWER I to every place resort.

QUESTION O why into the world is sorrow sent?

ANSWER Men afflicted best repent.

QUESTION What dost thou feed on?

ANSWER Broken sleep.

QUESTION What takest thou take pleasure in?

ANSWER To weep, To sigh, to sob, to pine, to groan, To wring my hands, to sit alone.

QUESTION Oh when, oh when, shall sorrow quiet have?

ANSWER Never, never, never, never, Never till she finds a grave.

Enter Cornego.

CORNEGO No lesson Madam but Lacrymae's? If you had buried nine husbands, so much water as you might squeeze out of an onion had been tears enough to cast away upon fellows that cannot thank you. Come, be jovial.

ONAELIA Sorrow becomes me best.

CORNEGO A suit of laugh and lie down would wear better.

ONAELIA What should I do to be merry, Cornego?

CORNGO Be not sad.

ONELIA But what's the best mirth in the world?

CORNEGO Marry this, to see much, say little, do little, get little, spend little and want nothing.

ONELIA Oh, but there is a mirth beyond all these; This picture has so vexed me, I'm half mad, To spite it therefore, I'll sing any song Thyself shall tune. Say then, what mirth is best?

CORNEGO Why then Madam, what I knock out now is the very marrowbone of mirth and this it is.

ONELIA Say on.

CORNEGO The best mirth for a lawyer is to have fools to his clients; for citizens to have noblemen pay for their debts; for tailors to have store of satin brought in, for then how little soever their houses are, they will be sure to have large yards. The best mirth for bawds is to have fresh handsome whores, and for whores to have rich gulls come aboard their pinnaces , for then they are sure to build galleasses .

ONELIA These to such souls are mirth, but to mine, none. Away.

Exit Cornego, Enter Cardinal.

CARDINAL Peace to you, Lady.

ONELIA I will not sin so much as to hope for peace And 'tis a mock ill suits your gravity.

CARDINAL I come to knit the nerves of your lost strength, To build your ruins up, to set you free From this your voluntary banishment, And give new being to your murdered fame.

ONELIA What Aesculapius can do this?

CARDINAL 'Tis from the King I come.

ONELIA A name I hate. Oh, I am deaf now to your embassy.

CARDINAL Hear what I speak.

ONELIA Your language breathed from him Is death's sad doom upon a wretch condemned.

CARDINAL Is it such poison?

ONELIA Yes, and were you crystal, What the King fills you with would make you break. You should my Lord, be like these robes you wear, Pure as the dye, and like that reverend shape Nurse thoughts as full of honour, zeal and purity. You should be the court-dial, and direct The King with constant motion, be ever beating, Like to clock-hammers, on his iron heart To make it sound clear and to feel remorse. You should unlock his soul, wake his dead conscience Which, like a drowsy sentinel, gives leave For sin's vast armies to beleaguer him. His ruins will be asked for at your hands.

CARDINAL I have raised up a scaffolding to save Both him and you from falling. Do but hear me.

ONAELIA Be dumb for ever.

CARDINAL Let your fears thus die: By all the sacred relics of the church And by my holy orders, what I minister Is even the spirit of health.

ONAELIA I'll drink it down into my soul at once.

CARDINAL You shall.

ONAELIA But swear.

CARDINAL What conjurations can more bind my oath?

ONAELIA But did you swear in earnest?

CARDINAL Come, you trifle.

ONAELIA No marvel, for my hopes have been so drowned I still despair, say on.

CARDINAL The King repents.

ONAELIA Pray, that again my Lord.

CARDINAL The King repents.

ONAELIA His wrongs to me?

CARDINAL His wrongs to you. The sense of sin Has pierced his soul.

ONAELIA Blessed penitence!

CARDINAL Has turned his eyes into his leprous bosom And like a king vows execution On all his traitorous passions.

ONAELIA God-like justice!

CARDINAL Intends in person presently to beg Forgiveness for his acts from heaven and you.

ONAELIA Heaven pardon him. I shall.

CARDINAL Will marry you.

ONAELIA Umh! Marry me? Will he turn bigamist? When? When?

CARDINAL Before the morrow sun hath rode Half his day's journey, will send home his Queen As one that stains his bed, and can produce Nothing but bastard issue to his crown. Why, how now? Lost in wonder and amazement?

ONAELIA I am so stored with joy that I can now Strongly wear out more years of misery Than I have lived.

Enter King.

CARDINAL You need not: here is the King.

KING Leave us.

Exit Cardinal.

ONAELIA With pardon sir, I will prevent you And charge upon you first.

KING 'Tis granted, do. But stay, what mean these emblems of distress? My picture so defaced, opposed against A holy cross! Room hung in black, and you Dressed like chief mourner at a funeral?

ONAELIA Look back upon your guilt, dear Sir, and then The cause that now seems strange explains itself. This and the image of my living wrongs Is still confronted by me to beget Grief like my shame, whose length may outlive time. This cross, the object of my wounded soul To which I pray to keep me from despair; That ever as the sight of one throws up Mountains of sorrow on my accursed head. Turning to that, mercy may check despair And bind my hands from wilful violence.

KING But who has played the tyrant with me thus, And with such dangerous spite abused my picture?

ONAELIA The guilt of that lays claim sir, to yourself For being, by you, ransacked of all my fame, Robbed of mine honour and dear chastity, Made, by your act, the shame of all my house, The hate of good men and the scorn of bad, The song of broom-men and the murdering vulgar, And left alone to bear up all these ills By you begun, my breast was filled with fire And wrapped in just disdain, and like a woman On that dumb picture wreaked I my passions.

KING And wished it had been I.

ONAELIA Pardon me Sir, My wrongs were great, and my revenge swelled high.

KING I will descend and cease to be a King, To leave my judging part, freely confessing Thou canst not give thy wrongs too ill a name. And here to make thy apprehension full, And seat thy reason in a sound belief I vow tomorrow, ere the rising sun Begins his journey, with all ceremonies Due to the Church, to seal our nuptials, To prive thy son with full consent of state, Spain's heir apparent, born in wedlock's vows.

ONAELIA And will you swear to this?

KING By this I swear.

[Takes up Bible.]

ONAELIA Oh, you have sworn false oaths upon that book!

KING Why then, by this.

[Takes up crucifix.]

ONAELIA Take heed you print it deeply: How for your concubine, bride I cannot say, She stains your bed with black adultery, And though her fame masks in a fairer shape Than mine to the world's eye, yet King, you know Mine honour is less strumpeted than hers, However butchered in opinion.

KING This way for her, the contract which thou hast, By best advice of all our Cardinals, Today shall be enlarged till it be made Past all dissolving. Then to our council table Shall she be called, that read aloud, she told The church commands her quick return for Florence With such a dower as Spain received with her, And that they will not hazard heaven's dire curse To yield to a match unlawful, which shall taint The issue of the King with bastardy. This done, in state majestic come you forth, Our new crowned Queen in sight of all our peers. Are you resolved?

OMAELIA To doubt of this were treason Because the King has sworn it.

KING And will keep it. Deliver up the contract then, that I May make this day end with thy misery.

ONAELIA Here as the dearest Jewel of my fame Locked I this parchment from all viewing eyes. This your indenture, held alone the life Of my supposed dead honour; yet behold, Into your hands I redeliver it. Oh keep it Sir, as you should keep that vow, To which, being signed by heaven, even angels bow.

[Onaelia passes the document to the King.]

KING 'Tis in the lion's paw, and who dares snatch it? Now to your beads and crucifix again.

ONAELIA Defend me heaven!

KING Pray there may come Embassadors from France Their followers are good customers.

ONAELIA Save me from madness!

KING 'Twill raise the price, being the King's mistress.

ONAELIA You do but counterfeit to mock my joys.

KING Away bold strumpet!

ONAELIA Are there eyes in heaven to see this?

KING Call and try, here's a whore's curse To fall in that belief, which her sins nurse.

Exit King, Enter Cornego.

CORNEGO How now? What quarter of the moon has she cut out now? My Lord puts me into a wise office to be a mad-woman's keeper. Why, Madam!

ONAELIA Ha! Where is the King, thou slave?

[Clutches Cornego.]

CORNEGO Let go your hold, or I'll fall upon you as I am a man.

ONAELIA Thou treacherous caitiff , where is the King?

CORNEGO He's gone, but not so far as you are.

ONAELIA Crack all in sunder, oh you battlements, And grind me into powder

CORNEGO What powder? Come, what powder? When did you ever see a woman grinded into powder? I am sure some of your sex powder men, and pepper them too.

ONAELIA Is there a vengeance yet lacking to my ruin? Let it fall, now let it fall upon me!

CORNEGO No, there has been too much fallen upon you already.

ONAELIA Thou villain, leave thy hold, I'll follow him Like a raised ghost, I'll haunt him, break his sleep, Fright him as he is embracing his new leman , Til want of rest bids him run mad and die, For making oaths bawds to his perjury.

CORNEGO Pray be more seasoned, if he make any bawds, he did ill, for there is enough of that fly-blown flesh already.

ONAELIA I'm left quite naked now; all gone, all, all.

CORNEGO No Madam, not all, for you cannot be rid of me. Here comes your Uncle.

Enter Medina.

ONAELIA Attired in robes of vengeance, are you uncle?

MEDINA More horrors yet?

ONAELIA 'Twas never full till now, And in this torrent all my hopes lie drowned.

MEDINA Instruct me in the cause.

ONAELIA The King, the contract!

Exit Onaelia.

CORNEGO That's cud enough for you to chew upon.

Exit Cornego.

MEDINA What's this? A riddle. How? The King, the contract. The mischief I divine which proving true, Shall kindle fires in Spain to melt his crown Even from his head. Here's the decree of fate: A black deed must a black deed expiate.

Exit Medina.


Enter Balthazar, [having been] slighted by the Dons.

BALTHAZAR Thou god of good apparel, what strange fellows are bound to do thee honour. Mercer's books show men's devotions to thee. Heaven cannot hold a saint so stately. Do not my dons know me because I'm poor in clothes? Stood my beaten tailor plaiting my rich hose, my silk stocking man drawing upon my Lordship's courtly calf pairs of imbroidered things, whose golden clocks strike deeper to the faithful shop-keeper's heart, than into mine to pay him. Had my barber perfumed my lousy thatch here and poked out me tusks more stiff than are a cats muschatoes , these pied-winged butterflies had known me then. Another fly-boat! Save thee illustrious Don.

Enter Don Rodrigo.

Sir, is the King at leisure to speak Spanish with a poor Soldier?


BALTHAZAR No, Sirah, you, no! You Don with the ochre face, I wish to have thee but on a breach, stifling with smoke and fire. And for thy no, but whiffing gunpowder out of an iron pipe, I would but ask thee if thou would'st on, and if thou did'st cry no, thou should'st read Canon Law. I'd make thee roar, and wear cut-beaten-satin. I would pay thee though thou payest not thy mercer. Mere Spanish jennets!

Enter Cockadillio.

Signor, is the King at leisure?

COCKADILLO To do what?

BALTHAZAR To hear a soldier speak.

COCKADILLO I am no ear picker To sound his hearing that way.

BALTHAZAR Are you of court sir?

COCKADILLO Yes, the King's barber.

BALTHAZAR That's his ear picker. Your name, I pray.

COCKADILLO Don Cockadillio If, soldier, thou hast suits to beg at court, I shall descend so low as to betray Thy paper to the hand Royal.

BALTHAZAR I beg, you whorson muscod ! My petition is written on my bosom in red wounds.

COCKADILLO I am no barber-surgeon.

Exit Cockadillio.

BALTHAZAR You yellowhammer, why, shaver: that such poor things as these, only made up of tailor's shreds and merchant's silken rags and 'pothecary drugs to lend their breath sophisticated smells, when their rank guts stink worse than cowards in the heat of battle. Such whaleboned- doublet rascals, that owe more to laundresses and seamsters for laced linen than all their race from their great grand-father to this their reign, in clothes were ever worth. These excrements of silk worms! Oh that such flies do buzz about the beams of Majesty, like earwigs tickling a King's yielding ear with that court-organ, flattery, when a soldier must not come near the court gates twenty score, but stand for want of clothes, though he win towns, amongst the almsbasket-men! His best reward being scorned to be a fellow to the blackguard. Why should a soldier, being the world's right arm, be cut thus by the left, a courtier? Is the world all ruff and feather and nothing else? Shall I never see a tailor give his coat with a difference from a gentleman?

Enter King, Alanzo, Carlo, Cockadillio.

KING My Balthazar! Let us make haste to meet thee. How art thou altered? Do you not know him?

ALANZO Yes Sir, the brave soldier Employed against the Moors

KING Half turned Moor! I'll honour thee, reach him a chair, that table And now, Aeneas-like, let thine own trumpet Sound forth thy battle with those slavish Moors.

BALTHAZAR My music is a Cannon, a pitched field my stage, Furies the actors, blood and vengeance the scene, death the story, a sword imbrued with blood, the pen that writes, and the poet a terrible buskined tragical fellow, with a wreath about his head of burning match instead of bays.

KING On to the battle.

BALTHAZAR 'Tis here without bloodshed. This our main battalia, that the van, this the vaw , these the wings, here we fight, there they fly, here they insconce , and here our sconces lay seventeen moons on the cold earth.

KING This satisfies my eye, but now my ear Must have his music too. Describe the battle.

BALTHAZAR The battle? Am I come from doing to talking? The hardest part for a soldier to play is to prate well. Our tongues are fifes, drums, petronels , muskets, culverin and cannon. These are our roarers, the clocks which we go by are our hands. Thus we reckon ten, our swords strike eleven and when steel targets of proof clatter one against another, then 'tis noon that's the height and the heat of the day of battle.



To that heat we came, our drums beat, pikes were shaken and shivered, swords and targets clashed and clattered, muskets rattled cannons roared, men died groaning, brave laced jerkings and feathers looked pale, tottered rascals fought pell mell. Here fell a wing, there heads were tossed like footballs, legs and arms quarrelled in the air and yet lay quietly on the earth. Horses trampled upon heaps of carcasses, troops of carbines tumbled wounded from their horses, we besiege Moors and famine us, mutinies bluster and are calm. I vowed not to doff mine armour though my flesh were frozen to it and turn into iron, nor to cut head nor beard till they yielded. My hairs and oath are of one length for, with Caesar, thus write I mine own story: veni, vidi, vici.

KING A pitched field, quickly fought. Our hand is thine, And because thou shalt not murmur that thy blood Was lavished forth for an ungrateful man, Demand what we can give thee and 'tis thine.

BALTHAZAR Only your love.

KING 'Tis thine, rise soldier's best accord When wounds of wrong are healed up by the sword.

Onaelia knocks loudly at the door.

ONAELIA Let me come in, I'll kill the treacherous King, The murderer of mine honour, let me come in.

KING What woman's voice is that?

ALL Medina's niece.

KING Bar out that fiend.

ONAELIA I'll tear him with my nails, Let me come in, let me come in, help, help me.

KING Keep her from following me. A guard.

ALANZO They are ready, sir.

KING Let a quick summons call our Lords together, This disease kills me.

BALTHAZAR Sir, I would be private with you.

KING Forebear us, but see the doors are well guarded.

Exeunt [King and Balthazar remain].

BALTHAZAR Will you, Sir, promise to give me freedom of speech?

KING Yes, I will, take it, speak any thing, 'tis pardoned.

BALTHAZAR You are a whoremaster. Do you send me to win towns for you abroad and you lose a kingdom at home?

KING What kingdom?

BALTHAZAR The fairest in the world, the kingdom of your fame, your honour.

KING Wherein?

BALTHAZAR I'll be plain with you. Much mischief is done by the mouth of a cannon, but the fire begins at a little touch-hole. You heard what nightingale sung to you even now.

KING Ha, ha, ha!

BALTHAZAR Angels erred but once and fell, but you Sir, spit in heaven's face every minute and laugh at it. Laugh still, follow your courses, do. Let your vices run like your kennels of hounds, yelping after you till they pluck down the fairest head in the herd, everlasting bliss.

KING Any more?

BALTHAZAR Take sin as the English snuff tobacco, and scornfully blow the smoke in the eyes of heaven, the vapour flies up in clouds of bravery. But when 'tis out, the coal is black, your conscience, and the pipe stinks. A sea of rosewater cannot sweeten your corrupted bosom.

KING Nay, spit thy venom.

BALTHAZAR 'Tis Aqua Coelestis , no venom. For when you shall clasp up these two books, never to be opened again, when by letting fall that anchor which can never more be weighed up, your mortal navigation ends. Then there's no playing at spurn-point with thunderbolts. A vintner then for unconscionable reckoning or a tailor for unmeasurable items shall not answer in half that fear you must.

KING No more.

BALTHAZAR I will follow truth at the heels, though her foot beat my gums in pieces.

KING The barber that draws out a lion's tooth Curseth his trade; and so shalt thou.

BALTHAZAR I care not.

KING Because you have beaten a few base-born moors, Me think'st thou to chastise? What is past I pardon, Because I made the key to unlock thy railing; But if thou dar'st once more be so untuned I'll sent thee to the galleys. Who are without there, How now?

Enter [guards and attendants] drawn.

ALL In danger, Sir?

KING Yes, yes, I am, but 'tis no point of weapon Can rescue me. Go presently and summon All our chief Grandees, Cardinals, and Lords Of Spain to meet in Council instantly. We called you forth to execute a business Of another strain - but 'tis no matter now. Thou diest when next thou furrowest up our brow.


Exit Balthazar, enter Cardinal, Rodrigo, Alba, Daenia, Valasco.

KING I find my sceptre shaken by enchantments Charactered in this parchment, which to unloose, I'll practice only counter-charms of fire, And blow the spells of lightening into smoke: Fetch burning tapers.

[Exit attendant who returns with light.]

CARDINAL Give me audience, Sir. My apprehension opens me a way To a close fatal mischief, worse than this You strive to murder. Oh, this act of yours Alone shall give your dangers life, which else Can never grow to height. Do, Sir, but read A book here closed up, which too late you opened, Now blotted by you with foul marginal notes.

KING Art frantic?

CARDINAL You are so, Sir.

KING If I be, Then here's my first mad fit.

CARDINAL For honour's sake, For love you bear to conscience -

KING Reach the flames: Grandees and Lords of Spain be witness all What here I cancel. Read, do you know this bond?

ALL Our hands are to it.

DAENIA 'Tis your confirmed contract With my sad kinswoman: but wherefore Sir, Now is your rage on fire, in such a presence To have it mourn in ashes?

KING Marquis Daenia We'll lend that tongue, when this no more can speak.


KING I am deaf, Played the full concert of the spheres unto me Upon their loudest strings - so burn that witch Who would dry up the tree of all Spain's glories, But that I purge her sorceries by fire.

[Burns contract.]

Troy lies in cinders. Let your Oracles Now laugh at me if I have been deceived By their ridiculous riddles. Why, good father, Now you may freely chide, why was your zeal Ready to burst in showers to quench our fury?

CARDINAL Fury indeed, you give it proper name. What have you done? Closed up a festering wound Which rots the heart. Like a bad surgeon, Labouring to pluck out from your eye a mote, You thrust the eye clean out.

KING Th'art mad ex tempore: What eye? Which is that wound?

CARDINAL That scroll, which now You make the black indenture of your lust Although eat up in flames, is printed here, In me, in him, in these, in all that saw it, In all that ever did but hear 'twas yours. The scold of the whole world, fame, will anon Rail with her thousand tongues at this poor shift Which gives your sin a flame greater than that You lend the paper. You to quench a wild fire, Cast Oil upon it.

KING Oil to blood shall turn, I'll lose a limb before the heart shall mourn.

Exeunt, Daenia and Alba remain.

DAENIA He's mad with rage or joy.

ALBA With both; with rage To see his follies checked, with fruitless joy Because he hopes his contract is cut off, Which divine justice more exemplifies.

Enter Medina.

MEDINA Where's the King?

DAENIA Wrapped up in clouds of lightning.

MEDINA What has he done? Saw you the contract torn? As I did here a minion swear he threatened.

ALBA He tore it not, but burned it.

MEDINA Openly!

DAENIA And heaven with us to witness.

MEDINA Well, that fire Will prove a catching flame to burn his kingdom.

ALBA Meet and consult.

MEDINA No more, trust not the air With our projections, let us all revenge Wrongs done to our most noble kinswoman. Action is honours language, swords are tongues, Which both speak best, and best do right our wrongs.



Enter Onaelia from one way, Cornego another.

CORNEGO Madam, there's a bear without to speak with you


CORNEGO It's a man all hair, and that's as bad.

ONAELIA Who is it?

CORNEGO 'Tis one Master Captain Balthazar.

ONAELIA I do not know that Balthazar.

CORNEGO He desires to see you: and if you love a water-spaniel before he be shorn, see him.

ONAELIA Let him come in.

Enter Balthazar.

CORNEGO Hist; a duck, a duck. There she is, Sir.

BALTHAZAR A soldier's good wish bless you lady.

ONAELIA Good wishes are most welcome Sir, to me, So many bad ones blast me.

BALTHAZAR Do you not know me?

ONAELIA I scarce know myself.

BALTHAZAR I have been at tennis Madam, with the king. I gave him fifteen and all his faults, which is much, and now I come to toss a ball with you.

ONAELIA I am bandied too much up and down already.

CORNEGO Yes, she has been struck under line, master soldier.

BALTHAZAR I conceit you, dare you trust yourself alone with me?

ONAELIA I have been laden with such weights of wrong That heavier cannot press me. Hence Cornego.

CORNEGO Hence Cornego? Stay Captain? When man and woman are put together, Some egg of villainy is sure to be sat upon.

Exit Cornego.

BALTHAZAR What would you say to him should kill this man that hath you so dishonoured?

ONAELIA Oh, I would Crown him With thanks, praise, gold and tender of my life.

BALTHAZAR Shall I be that German fencer, and beat all the knocking boys before me? Shall I kill him?

ONAELIA There's music in the tongue that dares but speak it.

BALTHAZAR That fiddle then is in me, this arm can do it, by poniard, poison or pistol: but shall I do it indeed?

ONAELIA One step to human bliss is sweet revenge.

BALTHAZAR Stay. What made you love him?

ONAELIA His most goodly shape Married to royal virtues of his mind.

BALTHAZAR Yet now you would divorce all that goodness; and why? For a little lechery of revenge? It's a lie. The burr that sticks in your throat is a throne. Let him out of his mess of kingdoms cut out but one, and lay Sicily, Aragon or Naples or any else upon your trencher , and you will praise bastard for the sweetest wine in the world, and call for another quart of it. 'Tis not because the man has left you, but because you are not the woman you would be that mads you. A she- cuckold is an untameable monster.

ONAELIA Monster of men thou are, thou bloody villain, Traitor to him who never injured thee. Dost thou profess arms, and art bound in honour To stand up like a brazen wall to guard Thy king and country, and would'st thou ruin both?

BALTHAZAR You spur me on to it.

ONAELIA True; Worse am I then the horridest fiend in hell To murder him who I once loved too well: For thou I could run mad, and tear my hair, And kill that godless man that turned me vile, Though I am cheated by a purjurious Prince Who has done wickedness, at which even heaven Shakes when the sun beholds it, O yet I'd rather Ten thousand poisoned poniards stab my breast Than one should touch his. Bloody slave! I'll play Myself the hangman, and will butcher thee If thou but prickest his finger.

BALTHAZAR Sayest thou me so! Give me thy goll , thou are a noble girl. I did play the Devil's part, and roar in a feigned voice, but I am the honestest Devil that ever spat fire. I would not drink that infernal draft of a King's blood, to go reeling to damnation, for the weight of the world in diamonds.

ONAELIA Art thou not counterfeit?

BALTHAZAR Now by my scars I am not.

ONAELIA I'll call thee honest soldier then, and woo thee To be an often visitant.

BALTHAZAR Your servant, Yet must I be a stone upon a hill, For thou I do no good, I'll not lie still.



Enter Malateste and the Queen.

MALATESTE When first you came from Florence, would the world Had with a universal dire eclipse Been overwhelmed, no more to gaze on day, That you to Spain had never found the way, Here to be lost forever.

QUEEN We from one climate Drew suspiration . As thou then hast eyes To read my wrongs, so be thy head an engine To raise up ponderous mischief to the height, And then thy hands, the executioners. A true Italian spirit is a ball Of wild-fire, hurting most when it seems spent. Great ships on small rocks, beating oft are rent. And so, let Spain by us. But Malateste, Why from the presence did you single me Into this gallery?

MALATESTE To show you Madam, The picture of yourself, but so defaced, And mangled by proud Spaniards, it would whet A sword to arm the poorest Florentine In your just wrongs.

QUEEN As how? Let's see that picture.

MALATESTE Here 'tis then: time is not scarce four days old, Since I, and certain Dons, sharp-witted fellows, And of good rank, were with two Jesuits Grave profound scholars, in deep argument Of various propositions. At the last, Question was moved touching your marriage And the King's pre-contract.

QUEEN So, and what followed?

MALATESTE Whether it were a question moved by chance, Or spitefully of purpose, I being there, And your own Countryman, I cannot tell. But when much tossing had bandied both the King And you, as pleased those that took up the racquets. In conclusion, the Father Jesuits, To whose subtle music every ear there Was tied, stood with their lives in stiff defence Of this opinion - oh pardon me If I must speak their language.

QUEEN Say on.

MALATESTE That the most Catholic king in marrying you, Keeps you but as his whore.

QUEEN Are we their themes?

MALATESTE And that Medina's niece, Onaelia, Is his true wife. Her bastard son they said The King being dead, should claim and wear the crown, And whatsoever children you shall bear, To be but bastards in the highest degree, As being begotten in adultery.

QUEEN We will not grieve at this, but with hot vengeance Beat down this armed mischief. Malateste! What whirlwinds can we raise to blow this storm Back in their faces who thus shoot at me?

MALATESTE If I were fit to be your councillor, Thus would I speak - feign that you are with child. The mother of the maids, and some worn ladies Who oft have guilty being to court great bellies, May though it not be so, get you with child With swearing that 'tis true.

QUEEN Say 'tis believed, Or that it so doth prove?

MALATESTE The joy thereof, Together with these earthquakes, which will shake All Spain, if they their Prince do disinherit, So borne, of such a Queen, being only daughter To such a brave spirit as Duke of Florence. All this buzzed into the King, he cannot choose But charge that all the bells in Spain echo up This joy to heaven, that bonfires change the night To a high noon, with beams of sparkling flames; And that in Churches, organs, charmed with prayers, Speak loud for your most safe delivery.

QUEEN What fruits grow out of these?

MALATESTE These; you must stick, As here and there spring weeds in banks of flowers, Spies amongst the people, who shall lay their ears To every mouth, and seal to you their whispering.


MALATESTE 'Tis a plummet to sound Spanish hearts How deeply they are yours. Besides a guesse Is hereby made of any faction That shall combine against you, which the King seeing, If then he will not rouse him like a dragon To guard his golden fleece, and rid his harlot And her base bastard hence, either by death, Or in some traps of state ensnare them both, Let his own ruins crush him.

QUEEN This goes to trial. Be thou my magic book, which reading o'er Their counterspells we'll break; or if the King Will not by strong hand fix me in his Throne, But that I must be held Spain's blazing star, Be it an ominous charm to call up war.


Enter Cornego and Onaelia.

CORNEGO Here's a parcel of man's flesh has been hanging up and down all this morning to speak with you.

ONAELIA Is't not some executioner?

CORNEGO I see nothing about him to hang in but his garters.

ONAELIA Sent from the King to warn me of my death: I prithee bid him welcome.

CORNEGO He says he is a poet.

ONAELIA Then bid him better welcome. Belike he's come to write my epitaph, Some scurvy thing I'll warrant. Welcome Sir.

Enter Poet.

POET Madam, my love presents this book unto you.

ONAELIA To me? I am not worthy of a line, Unless at that Line hang some hook to choke me:

[Onaelia reads book.]

To the Most Honoured Lady - Onaelia. Fellow thou liest, I'm most dishonoured: Thou should'st have writ to the most wronged Lady. The title of this book is not to me, I tear it therefore as mine honour's torn.

CORNEGO Your verses are lamed in some of their feet, Master poet.

ONAELIA What does it treat of?

POET Of the solemn triumphs Set forth at coronation of the Queen.

ONAELIA Hissing, the poet's whirlwind, blast thy lines! Com'st thou to mock my tortures with her triumphs?

POET 'Las Madam!

ONAELIA When her funerals are past, Crown thou a dedication to my joys, And thou shalt swear each line a golden verse. Cornego, burn this idol.

CORNGO Your book shall come to light, Sir.

Exit Cornego [with book.]

ONAELIA I have read legends of disastrous dames; Will none set pen to paper for poor me? Canst write a bitter satire? Brainless people Do call them libels. Darest thou write a libel?

POET I dare mix gall and poison with my ink.

ONAELIA Do it then for me.

POET And every line must be A whip to draw blood.


POET And to dare The stab from him it touches. He that writes Such libels, as you call them, must launch wide The sores of men's corruptions, and even search To the quick for dead flesh, or for rotten cores: A poet's ink can better cure some sores Than surgeon's balsam.

ONAELIA Undertake that cure And crown thy verse with bays.

POET Madam, I'll do it, But I must have the party's character.


POET I do not love to pluck the quills, With which I make pens, out of a lion's claw. The King! Should I be bitter 'gainst the King, I shall have scurvy ballads made of me, Sung to the hanging tune. I dare not, Madam.

ONAELIA This baseness follows your profession. You are like common beadles, apt to lash Almost to death poor wretches not worth striking, But fawn with slavish flattery on damned vices So great men act them. You clap hands at those, Where the true poet indeed doth scorn to guild A gaudy tomb with glory of his verse, Which coffins stinking carrion. No, his lines Are free as his invention. No base fear Can shake his pen to temporise even with kings, The blacker are their crimes, he louder sings. Go, go, thou canst not write: 'tis but my calling The muses help, that I may be inspired. Canst a woman be a poet, Sir?

POET Yes, Madam, best of all. For poesie Is but feigning, feigning is to lie, And women practice lying more than men.

ONAELIA Nay, but if I should write, I would tell truth. How might I reach a lofty strain?

POET Thus Madam: Books, music, wine, brave company and good cheer Make poets to soar high and sing most clear.

ONAELIA Are they born poets?


ONAELIA Die they?

POET Oh, never die.

ONAELIA My misery is then a poet sure, For time has given it an eternity. What sort of poets are there?

POET Two sorts lady: The great poets and the small poets.

ONAELIA Great and small! Which do you call the great? The fat ones?

POET No: But such as have great heads, which emptied forth, Fill all the world with wonder at their lines; Fellows which swell big with the wind of praise. The small ones are but shrimps of poesie.

ONAELIA Which in the kingdom now is the best poet?

POET Emulation.

ONAELIA Which the next?

POET Necessity.

ONAELIA And which the worst?

POET Self-love.

ONAELIA Say I turn poet, what should I get?

POET Opinion.

ONAELIA Alas, I have got too much of that already, Opinion is my evidence, judge and jury. Mine own guilt and opinion now condemn me. I'll therefore be no poet, no nor make Ten muses of your nine. I'll swear for this; Verses, though freely born, like slaves are sold, I crown thy lines with bays, thy love with gold: So fare thou well.

POET Our pen shall honour thee.

Exit Poet, enter Cornego.

CORNEGO The poet's book Madam, has got the inflammation of the liver, it died of a burning fever.

ONAELIA What shall I do, Cornego? For this poet Has filled me with a fury. I could write Strange satires now against adulterers, And marriage-breakers.

CORNEGO I believe you Madam - but here comes your uncle.

Enter Medina, Alanzo, Carlo, Alba, Sebastian, Daenia.

MEDINA Where's our niece? Turn your brains round, and recollect your spirits, And see your noble friends and kinsmen ready To pay revenge his due.

ONAELIA That word revenge, Startles my sleepy soul, now thoroughly wakened By the fresh object of my hapless child Whose wrongs reach beyond mine.

SEBASTIAN How doth my sweet mother?

ONAELIA How doth my prettiest boy?

ALANZO Wrongs, like great whirlwinds, Shake highest battlements. Few for heaven would care, Should they be ever happy. They are half gods Who both in good days, and good fortune share.

ONAELIA I have no part in either.

CARLO You shall in both, Can swords but cut the way.

ONAELIA I care not much, so you but gently strike him, And that my child escape the lightening.

MEDINA For that our nerves are knit; is there not here A promising face of manly princely virtues, And shall so sweet a plant be rooted out By him that ought to fix it fast in the ground? Sebastian, what will you do to him That hurts your mother?

SEBASTIAN The King my father shall kill him I trow.

DAENIA But sweet cousin, the King loves not your mother.

SEBASTIAN I'll make him love her when I am a King.

MEDINA La you, there's in him a king's heart already. As therefore we before together vowed, Lay all your warlike hands upon my sword, And swear.

SEBASTIAN Will you swear to kill me, Uncle?

MEDINA Oh not for twenty worlds.

SEBASTIAN Nay then draw and spare not, for I love fighting.

MEDINA Stand in the midst, sweet coz, we are your guard. These hammers shall for thee beat out a crown If all hit right. Swear therefore, noble friends, By your high bloods, by true nobility, By what you owe religion, owe to your country, Owe to the raising your posterity, By love you bear to virtue, and to arms, The shield of innocence, swear not to sheath Your swords, when once drawn forth.

ONAELIA Oh not to kill him For twenty thousand worlds.

MEDINA Will you be quiet? Your swords when once drawn forth, till they have forced Yon godless, perjurous, perfidious man...

ONAELIA Pray rail not at him so.

MEDINA Art mad? You're idle Till they have forced him To cancel his late lawless bond he sealed At the high altar to his Florentine strumpet, And in his bed lay this his troth-plight wife.

ONAELIA I, I that's well. Pray swear.

ALL To this we swear.

SEBASTIAN Uncle, I swear too.

MEDINA Our forces let's unite, be bold and secret, And lion-like with open eyes let's sleep, Streams smooth and slowly running are most deep.



Enter King, Queen, Malateste, Valasco, Lopez, [Roderigo and guards].

KING The presence door be guarded, let none enter On forfeit of your lives, without our knowledge. Oh you are false physicians all unto me, You bring me poison, but no antidotes.

QUEEN Yourself that poison brews.

KING Prithee, no more.

QUEEN I will, I must speak more.

KING Thunder aloud.

QUEEN My child, yet newly quickened in my womb, Is blasted with the fires of bastardy.

KING Who! Who dares once but think so in his dream?

MALATESTE Medina's faction preached it openly.

KING Be cursed he and his faction. Oh how I labour For these preventions! But so cross is fate My ills are ne'r hid from me, but their cures. What's to be done?

QUEEN That which being left undone, Your life lies at the stake. Let them be breathless Both brat and mother.


MALATESTE She plays true music Sir. The mischiefs you are drenched in are so full, You need not fear to add to them. Since now No way is left to guard thy rest secure, But by a means like this.

LOPEZ All Spain rings forth Medina's name, and his confederates.

RODRIGO All his allies and friends rush into troops Like raging torrents.

VALESCO And loud trumpet forth Your perjuries. Seducing the wild people, And with rebellious faces threatening all.

KING I shall be massacred in this their spleen, Ere I have time to guard myself. I feel The fire already falling. Where's our guard?

MALATESTE Planted at guarded gate, with a strict charge That none shall enter but by your command.

KING Let them be doubled. I am full of thoughts, A thousand wheels toss my incertain fears, There is a storm in my hot boiling brains, Which rises without wind. A horrid one. What clamour's that?

QUEEN Some treason. Guard the King.

Enter Balthazar drawn, [he strikes] one of the guards who falls.


MALATESTE One of the guards is slain, keep off the murderer.

BALTHAZAR I am none, sir.

VALASCO There's a man dropped down by thee.

KING Thou desperate fellow, thus press in upon us! Is murder all the story we shall read? What King can stand, when thus his subjects bleed? What has thou done?


KING Played even the wolf, And from a fold committed to my charge, Stolen and devoured one of the flock.

BALTHAZAR You have sheep enough for all that, Sir. I have killed none though. Or if I have, mine own blood, shed in your quarrels, may beg my pardon. My business was in haste to you.

KING I would not have thy sin scored on my head For all the Indian Treasury. I prithee tell me, Suppose thou had'st our pardon, oh can that cure Thy wounded conscience, can there my pardon help thee? Yet having deserved well both of Spain and us, We will not pay thy worth with loss of life, But banish thee for ever.

BALTHAZAR For a groom's death?

KING No more. We banish thee our court and Kingdom. A King that fosters men so dipped in blood, May be called merciful, but never good. Be gone upon thy life.

BALTHAZAR Well, farewell.

Exit Balthazar.

VALASCO The fellow is not dead, but wounded sir.

QUEEN After him Malateste. In our lodging Stay that rough fellow, he's the man shall do't. Haste or my hopes are lost.

Exit Malateste.

Why are you sad, sir?

KING For thee, Paulina, swell my troubled thoughts Like billows beaten by two warring winds.

QUEEN Be you ruled but ruled by me, I'll make a calm Smooth as the breast of heaven.

KING Instruct me how.

QUEEN You, as your fortunes tie you, are inclined To have the blow given.

KING Where's the instrument?

QUEEN 'Tis found in Balthazar.

KING He's banished.

QUEEN True But stayed by me for this.

KING His spirit is hot And rugged, but so honest that his soul Will never turn devil to do it.

QUEEN Put it to trial. Retire a little, hither I'll send for him, Offer repeal and favours if he do it. But if he deny, you have no finger in't, And then his doom of banishment stands good.

KING Be happy in thy workings, I obey.

Exit King

QUEEN Stay Lopez.

LOPEZ Madam.

QUEEN Step to our lodging, Lopez And instantly bid Malateste bring The banished Balthazar to us.

LOPEZ I shall.

Exit Lopez.

QUEEN Thrive my black plots, the mischiefs I have set Must not so die. Ills must new ills beget.

Enter Malateste and Balthazar.

BALTHAZAR Now! What hot poisoned custard must I put my spoon into now?

QUEEN None, for mine honour is now thy protection.

MALATESTE Which, noble soldier, she will pawn for thee But never forfeit.

BALTHAZAR 'Tis a fair gage , keep it.

QUEEN Oh Balthazar! I am thy friend, and marked thee. When the King sentenced thee to banishment Fire sparkled from thine eyes of rage and grief. Rage to be doomed so for a groom so base, And grief to lose thy Country. Thou hast killed none, The milk-sop is but wounded, thou are not banished.

BALTHAZAR If I were, I lose nothing, I can make any country mine. I have a private coat for Italian Stilettos, I can be treacherous with the Walloon, drunk with the Dutch, a chimney-sweeper with the Irish, a gentleman with the Welsh and true arrant thief with the English. What then is my country to me?

QUEEN The King, who rap'd with fury, banished thee, Shall give thee favours, yield but to destroy What him distempers.

BALTHAZAR So. And what is the dish I must dress?

QUEEN Only the cutting off a pair of lives.

BALTHAZAR I love no red-wine healths.

QUEEN The King commands it, you are but executioner.

BALTHAZAR The hang-man? An office that will hold so long as hemp lasts. Why do not you beg the office, Sir?

QUEEN Thy victories in field never did crown thee As this one Act shall.

BALTHAZAR Prove but that, 'tis done.

QUEEN Follow him close, he's yielding.

MALATESTE Thou shalt be called thy Country's Patriot, For quenching out a fire now newly kindling In factious bosoms, and shalt thereby save More Noble Spaniards lives, than thou slew Moors.

QUEEN Art thou yet converted?


QUEEN Read me then: Medina's niece, by a contract from the King, Lays claim to all that's mine, my crown, my bed. A son she has by him must fill the throne, If her great faction can but work that wonder. Now hear me...

BALTHAZAR I do with gaping ears.

QUEEN I swell with hopeful issue to the King.

BALTHAZAR A brave Don call you mother.

MALATESTE Of this danger the fear afflicts the King.

BALATAZAR Cannot much blame him.

QUEEN If therefore by the riddance of this Dame ...

BALTHAZAR Riddance? Oh! The meaning on't is murder.

MALATESTE Stab her, or so, that's all.

QUEEN That Spain be free from frights, the King from fears, And I, now held his infamy, be called Queen, The treasure of the Kingdom shall lie open To pay thy noble darings.

BALTHAZAR Come. I'll do it, provided I hear Jove call to me, though he roars. I must have the King's hand to this warrant, else I dare not serve it upon my conscience.

QUEEN Be firm then. Behold the King is come.

Enter King.

BALTHAZAR Acquaint him.

QUEEN I found the metal hard, but with oft beating He's now so softened, he shall take impression From any seal you give him.

KING Balthazar, Come hither, listen. Whatsoe'er our Queen Has importuned thee to touching Onaelia Niece to the Constable, and her young son, My voice shall second it, and sign her promise.

BALTHAZAR Their riddance?

KING That.

BALTHAZAR What way? By poison?


BALTHAZAR Starving? Or strangling, stabbing, smothering?


KING Any way, so 'tis done.

BALTHAZAR But I will have, Sir, This under your own hand, that you desire it, You plot it, set me on to't.

KING Pen, ink and paper.

[King writes and signs document.]

BALTHAZAR And then as large a pardon as law and wit can engross for me.

KING Thou shalt have my pardon.

BALTHAZAR A word more, Sir, pray will you tell me one thing?

KING Yes, any thing dear Balthazar.

BALTHAZAR Suppose I have your strongest pardon, can that cure my wounded conscience? Can there your pardon help me? You not only knock the ewe on the head, but cut the innocent lamb's throat too, yet you are no butcher.

QUEEN Is this thy promised yielding to an act So wholesome for thy country?

KING Chide him not.

BALTHAZAR I would not have this sin scored on my head For all the Indian Treasury.

KING That song no more. Do this and I will make thee a great man.

BALTHAZAR Is there no farther trick in't but my blow, your purse and my pardon?

MALTATESTE No nets upon my life to entrap thee.

BALTHAZAR Then trust me. These knuckles work it.

KING Farewell. Be confident and sudden.

BALTHAZAR Yes. Subjects may stumble, when kings walk astray. Thine Acts shall be a new Apocrypha.



Enter Medina, Alba, [Carlo], and Daenia, met by Balthazar with a poniard and a pistol.

BALTHAZAR You met a Hydra. See, if one head fails Another with a sulphurous beak stands yawning.

MEDINA What hath raised up this devil?

BALTHAZAR A great man's vices, that can raise all hell. What would you call that man, who under-sail in a most goodly ship, wherein he ventures his life, fortunes, and honours, yet in a fury should hew the mast down, cast sails overboard, fire all the tacklings, and to crown this madness, should blow up all the decks, burn th'oaken ribs, and in that combat 'twix two elements leap desperately, and drown himself in the seas? What were so brave a fellow?

ALL A brave black villain.

BALTHAZAR That's I. All that brave black villain dwells in me, if I be that black villain. But I am not! A nobler character prints out my brow, which you may thus read, I was banished Spain for emptying a court- hogshead, but repealed so I would, ere my reeking iron was cold, promise to give it a deep crimson dye in - none hear, - stay - no, none hear.

MEDINA Whom then?

BALTHAZAR Basely to stab a woman, your wronged niece and her most innocent son, Sebastian.

ALBA The boar now foams with wetting.

DAENIA What has blunted Thy weapons point at these?

BALTHAZAR My honesty. A sign at which few dwell, pure honesty! I am a vassal to Medina's house, He taught me first the A-B-C of war. E'er I was truncheon high, I had the stile on beardless Captain, writing then but boy, and shall I now turn slave to him that fed me with Cannon- bullets and taught me, ostrich-like to digest iron and steel! No! Yet I yielded with willow-bendings to commanding breaths.

MEDINA Of whom?

BALTHAZAR Of King and Queen. With supple hams and an ill-boding look, I vowed to do it. Yet, lest some choke-pear of state policy should stop my throat, and spoil my drinking pipe, see, like his cloak, I hung at the King's elbow, till I had got his hand to sign my life.

[Balthazar passes over the document signed by the King.]

DAENIA Shall we see this and sleep?

ALBA No, whilst these wake.

MEDINA 'Tis the King's hand?

BALTHAZAR Think you me a coiner ?

MEDINA No, no, Thou art thy self still, noble Balthazar. I ever knew thee honest, and the mark Stands still upon thy forehead.

BALTHAZAR Else flea the skin off.

MEDINA I ever knew thee valiant, and to scorn All acts of baseness. I have seen this man Write in the field such stories with his sword, That our best chieftains swore there was in him As 'twere a new philosophy of fighting, His deeds were so punctilious. In one battle When death so nearly missed my ribs, he struck Three horses stone-dead under me. This man, Three times that day, even through the jaws of danger, Redeemed me up and, I shall print it ever, Stood over my body with Colossus thighs Whilst all the thunder-bolts which war could throw, Fell on his head. And Balthazar, thou canst not Be now but honest still, and valiant still, Not to kill boys and women.

BALTHAZAR My biter here, eats no such meat.

MEDINA Go fetch the marked-out lamb for slaughter hither, Good fellow-soldier aid him, and stay, mark, Give this false fire to the believing King, That the child's sent to heaven, but that the mother Stands rocked so strong with friends, ten thousand billows Cannot once shake her.

BALTHAZAR This I'll do.

MEDINA Away. Yet one word more. Your counsel, Noble friends. Hark Balthazar, because nor eyes nor tongues, Shall by loud larums, that the poor boy lives, Question thy false report, the child shall, closely Mantled in darkness, forthwith be conveyed To the monastery of Saint Paul.

ALL Good.

MEDINA Despatch then, be quick.

BALTHAZAR As lightning.

Exit Balthazar.

ALBA This fellow is some angel dropped from heaven To preserve innocence.

MEDINA He is a wheel Of swift and turbulent motion. I have trusted him, Yet will not hang on him too many plummets, Lest with a headlong gyre he ruins all. In these state consternations, when a kingdom Stands tottering at the centre, out of suspicion Safety grows often. Let us suspect this fellow, And that albeit he show us the King's hand, It may be but a trick.

DAENIA Your Lordship hits A poisoned nail i'th head. This waxen fellow, By the King's hand so bribing him with gold, Is set on screws, perhaps is made his creature, To turn round every way.

MEDINA Out of that fear Will I beget truth. For myself in person Will sound the King's breast.

CARLO How? Yourself in person?

ALBA That's half the prize he gapes for.

MEDINA I'll venture it, And come off well I warrant you, and rip up His very entrails, cut in two his heart, And search each corner in't, yet shall not he Know who it is cut up the anatomy.

DAENIA 'Tis an exploit worth wonder.

CARLO Put the worst, Say some infernal voice should roar from hell, The infant's cloistering up.

ALBA 'Tis not our danger, Nor the imprisoned Prince's, for what thief Dares by base sacrilege rob the Church of him?

CARLO At worst none can be lost but this slight fellow!

MEDINA All build on this as on a stable cube. If we our footing keep, we fetch him forth, And crown him King. If up we fly i'th air, We for his soul's health a broad way prepare.

DAENIS They come.

Enter Balthazar and Sebastian.

MEDINA Thou knowest where to bestow him, Balthazar.

BALTHAZAR Come noble boy.

ALBA Hide him from being discovered.

BALTHAZAR Discovered? Would there stood a troop of Moors thrusting the paws of hungry lions forth, to seize this prey, and this but in my hand, I should do something.

SEBASTIAN Must I go with this black fellow, Uncle?

MEDINA Yes, pretty coz, hence with him Balthazar.

BALTHAZAR Sweet child, within few minutes I'll change thy fate And take thee hence, but set thee at heavens gate.

[Exit Balthazar and Sebastian.]

MEDINA Some keep aloof and watch this soldier

CARLO I'll do't.

Exit Carlo.

DAENIA What's to be done now?

MEDINA First to plant strong guard About the mother, then into some snare To hunt this spotted panther, and there kill him.

DAENIA What snares have we can hold him?

MEDINA Be that care mine. Dangers, like stars, in dark attempts best shine.



Enter Cornego, Balthazar.

CORNEGO The Lady Onaelia dresseth the stead of her commendations in the most courtly attire that words can be clothed with, from herself to you, by me.

BALTHAZAR So Sir, and what disease troubles her now?

CORNEGO The King's evil. And here she hath sent something to you, wrapped up in a white sheet, you need not fear to open it, 'tis no course.

BALTHAZAR What's here? A letter minced into five morsels? What was she doing when thou camest from her?

CORNEGO At her prick-song.

BALTHAZAR So me thinks, for here's nothing but sol-re-me-fa-mi. What crotchet fills her head now, canst tell?

CORNEGO No crotchets, 'tis only the Cliff has made her mad.

BALTHAZAR What instrument played she upon?

CORNEGO A wind instrument, she did nothing but sigh.

BALTHAZAR Sol, re, me, fa, mi.

CORNEGO My wit has always a singing head, I have found out her note captain.

BALTHAZAR The tune? Come.

CORNEGO Sol, my soul. Re, is all rent and torn like a ragamuffin. Me, mend it good captain. Fa, fa. What's fa Captain?

BALTHAZAR Fa, why farewell and be hanged.

CORNEGO Mi Captain, with all my heart. Have I tickled my Lady's fiddle well?

BALTHAZAR Oh, but you stick wants rosin to make the strings sound clearly. No, this double virginal, being cunningly touched, another matter of jack leaps up then is now in mine eye. Sol, re me fa, mi, I have it now. Solus Rex me facit miseram . Alas poor Lady, tell her no apothecary in Spain has any of that assa foetida she writes for.

CORNEGO Assa foetida? What's that?

BALTHAZARA A thing to be taken in a glister-pipe .

CORNEGO Why, what ails my Lady?

BALTHAZAR What ails she? Why when she cries out, Solus Rex me facit miseram, she says in the Hypocronicall language, that she is so miserably tormented with the wind colic that it racks her very soul.

CORNEGO I said somewhat cut her soul in pieces.

BALTHAZAR But go to her, and say the oven is heating.

CORNEGO And what shall be baked in't?

BALTHAZAR Carp pies. And besides, tell her the hole in her coat shall be mended, and tell her if the dial of good days goes true, why then bounce buckrum.

CORNEGO The devil lies sick of the mulligrubs.

BALTHAZAR Or the Cony is dub'd, and three sheepskins ...

CORNEGO With the wrong side outward ...

BALTHAZAR Shall make the fox a night-cap.

CORNEGO So the goose talks French to the buzzard.

BALTHAZAR But, Sir, if evil days jostle our prognostication to the wall, then say there's a fire in a whore-masters cod-piece.

CORNEGO And a poisoned bag-pudding in Tom Thumb's belly.

BALTHAZAR The first cut be thine. Farewell.

CORNEGO Is this all?

BALTHAZAR Would'st not trust an Almanac?

CORNEGO Not a coranta neither, though it were sealed with butter, and yet I know where they both lie passing well.

Enter Lopez.

LOPEZ The King sends round about the court to seek you.

BALTHAZAR Away Otterhound.

CORNEGO Dancing bear, I'm gone.

Exit Cornego. Enter King attended.

KING A Private room,

Exeunt, King and Balthazar remain

I'st done? Hast drawn thy two-edged sword out yet?

BALTHAZAR No, I was striking at the two iron bars that hinder your passage, and see Sir.


KING What mean'st thou?

BALTHAZAR The edge abated, feel.

KING No, no I see it.

BALTHAZAR As blunt as ignorance.

KING How? Put up - so - how?

BALTHAZAR I saw by chance hanging in Cardinal Alvarez gallery, a picture of hell.

KING So what of that?

BALTHAZAR There lay upon burnt straw ten thousand brave fellows all stark naked, some leaning upon crowns, some on Mitres, some on bags of gold. Glory, in another corner lay, a feather beaten in the rain. Beauty was turned into a watching candle that went out stinking. Ambition went upon a huge high pair of stilts but horribly rotten. Some in another nook were killing Kings, and some having their elbows shoved forward by Kings to murder others. I was, me thought, half in hell myself whist I stood to view this piece.

KING Was this all?

BALTHAZAR Was't not enough to see that a man is more healthful that eats dirty puddings, than he that feeds on a corrupted conscience?

KING Conscience! What's that? A conjuring book ne'r opened Without the reader's danger. 'Tis indeed A scarecrow set i'th world to frighten weak fools. Hast thou seen fields paved o'er with carcasses, Now to be tender-footed, not to tread On a boy's mangled quarters, and a woman's!

BALTHAZAR Nay, Sir, I have searched the records of the Low-Countries, and find that by your pardon I need not care a pin for goblins, and therefore I will do it Sir. I did recoil because I was double charged.

KING No more. Here comes a satyr with sharp horns.

Enter Cardinal, and Medina like a French Doctor.

CARDINAL Sir, here's a Frenchman charged with some strange business Which to close ear only he'll deliver, Or else to none.

KING A Frenchman?

MEDINA Oui, Monsieur.

KING Cannot he speak the Spanish?

MEDINA Si Signor, un Poco - Monsieur Acontez in de Corner, me come for offer to your Bon Grace mi trezhumbla service, by gar no John fidleco shall put into your near braver melody dan dis un petite pipe shall play to your great bon Grace.

KING What is the tune you strike up, touch the string.

MEDINA Dis - me has run up and down mine Country and learn many fine thing, and mush knavery, now more and all dis me know you'll jumbla de fine vench and fill her belly with garsoone, her name is La Madam ...

KING Onaelia.

MEDINA She by gar. Now Monsieur dis Madam send for me to help her malady, being very naught of her corpus, her body, me know you no point loves dis vench. But royal Monsieur donne moye ten thousand French Crowns she shall kick up her tail by gar, and beshide lie dead as dog in de shannell.

KING Speak low.

MEDINA As de bag-pipe when de wind is puff, Gar beigh,

KING Thou namest ten thousand Crowns, I'll treble them Rid me of this leprosy. Thy name?

MEDINA Monsieur Doctor Devil.

KING Shall I a second wheel add to this mischief To set it faster going? If one break, T'other may keep his motion.

MEDINA Esselent fort boone.

KING Balthazar. To give thy sword an edge again, this Frenchman Shall whet thee on, that if thy pistol fail, Or poniard, this can send the poison home.

BALTHAZAR Brother Cain we'll shake hands.

MEDINA In de bowl of de bloody busher. 'Tis very fine wholesome.

KING And more to arm your resolution, I'll tune this Churchman so, that he shall chime In sounds harmonious, merit to that man Whose hand has but a finger in that act.

BALTHAZAR That music were worth hearing.

KING Holy father, You must give pardon to me in unlocking A cave stuffed full with serpents, which my State Threaten to poison, and it lies in you To break their bed with thunder of your voice.

CARDINAL How princely son?

KING Suppose a universal Hot pestilence beat her mortiferous wings O'er all my kingdoms, am I not bound in soul, To empty all our academies of doctors And Aesculapian spirits to charm this plague?


KING Or had the canon made a breach Into our rich Escurial , down to beat it About our ears, should I stop this breach Spare even our richest Ornaments, nay our crown, Could it keep bullets off.

CARDINAL No sir, you should not.

KING This linstock gives you fire. Shall then that strumpet And bastard breathe quick vengeance in my face, Making my Kingdom reel, my subjects stagger In their obedience, and yet live?

CARDINAL How? Live! Shed not their bloods to gain a kingdom greater Than ten times this.

MEDINA Pish, not matter how Red-cap and his wit run.

KING As I am Catholic King, I'll have their hearts Panting in these two hands.

CARDINAL Dare you turn hangman? Is this religion Catholic to kill What even brute beasts abhor to do, your own! To cut in sunder wedlock's sacred knot Tied by heaven's fingers! To make Spain a bonfire To quench which must a second deluge rain In showers of blood, no water. If you do this There is an arm armipotent that can fling you Into a base grave, and your palaces With lightening strike, and of their ruins make A tomb for you, unpitied and abhorred, Bear witness all you lamps celestial I wash my hands of this.

KING Rise my good angel, Whose holy tunes beat from me that evil spirit Which jogs mine elbow, hence thou dog of hell.

MEDINA Bow wow.

KING Bark out no more thou mastiff, get you all gone, And let my soul sleep. [Aside to Balthazar] There's gold, peace, see it done.

Exit King.

BALTHAZAR Sirra, you salsa-perilla , rascal, toads-gut, you whorson pockey French spawn of a butsten-bellyed spider. Do you hear Monsieur?

MEDINA Why do you bark and snap at my Narcissus, as if I were de French dog?

BALTHAZAR You cur of Cerberus litter,

[Strikes him]

You'll poison the honest Lady? Do but once toot into her chamber-pot, and I'll make thee look worse than a witch does upon a close stool.

CARDINAL You shall not dare to touch him, stood he here Single before thee.

BALTHAZAR I'll cut the rat into anchovies.

CARDINAL I'll make thee kiss his hand, embrace him, love him And call him ...

Medina [reveals his true identity].

BALTHAZAR The perfection of all Spaniards, Mars in little, the best book of the art of war printed in these times. As a French doctor, I would have given you pellets for pills, but as my noblest Lord, rip my heart out in your service.

MEDINA Thou are the truest Clock That e'er to time paidst tribute, honest soldier, I lost mine own shape, and put on a French Only to try thy truth, and the King's falsehood, Both which I find. Now this great Spanish volume Is opened to me, I read him o'er and o'er, Oh what black characters are printed in him.

CARDINAL Nothing but certain ruin threats your niece, Without prevention. Well this plot was laid In such disguise to sound him, they that know How to meet dangers, are the less afraid. Yet let me counsel you not to text down These wrongs in red lines.

MEDINA No, I will not, father. Now that I have anatomised his thoughts, I'll read a lecture on them that shall save Many men's lives, and to the kingdom minister Most wholesome surgery. Here's our aphorism. These letters from us in our niece's name, You know treat of a marriage.

CARDINAL There's the strong anchor To stay all in this tempest.

MEDINA Holy sir, With these works you the King, and so prevail That all these mischiefs hull with flagging sail.

CARDINAL My best in this I'll do.

MEDINA Soldier, thy breast I must lock better things in.

BALTHAZAR 'Tis your chest, With three good keys to keep it from opening an honest heart, a daring hand, and a pocket which scorns money.



Enter King, Cardinal with letters, [Valesco and Lopez].

KING Commend us to Medina, say his letters Right pleasing are, and that, except himself Nothing could be more welcome. Counsel him, To blot the opinion out of factious numbers, Only to have his ordinary train Waiting upon him. For, to quit all fears Upon his side of us, our very court Shall even but dimly shine with some few Dons, Freely to prove our longings great to peace.

CARDINAL The Constable expects some pawn from you, That in this fairy circle shall rise up No fury to confound his niece nor him.

KING A King's word is engaged.

CARDINAL It shall be taken.

KING Valasco, call the Captain of our Guard, Bid him attend us instantly.

VALASCO I shall.

Exit Valasco.

KING Lopez come hither. See, Letters from Duke Medina, both in the name Of him and all his faction, offering peace, And our old love, his niece Onaelia In marriage with her free and fair consent To Cockadillio, a Don of Spain.

LOPEZ Will you refuse this?

KING My crown as soon. They feel their sinewy plots Belike to shrink i'the joints. And fearing ruin, Have found this cement out to piece up all, Which more endangers all.

LOPEZ How sir? Endangers!

KING Lions may hunted be into the snare, But if they once break loose, woe be to him That first seized on them. A poor prisoner scorns To kiss his jailer. And shall a king be choked With sweet-meats by false traitors! No, I will fawn On them as they stroke me, till they are fast But in this paw. And then...

LOPEZ A brave revenge! The Captain of your Guard.

Enter Alanzo, the Captain.

KING Upon thy life Double our guard this day. Let every man Bear a charged pistol hid, and, at a watch-word Given by a musket, when our self sees time, Rush in, and, if Medina's faction wrestle Against your forces, kill, but if yield, save. Be secret!

ALANZO I am charmed, Sir.

Exit Alanzo.

KING Watch Valasco. If any wear a Cross, feather or glove, Or such prodigious signs of a knit faction, Table their names up. At our court-gate plant Good strength to bar them out, if once they swarm. Do this upon thy life.

VALASCO Not death shall fright me.

Exit [Valasco and Lopez,] enter Balthazar.

BALTHAZAR 'Tis done, Sir.

KING Death! What's Done?

BALTHAZAR Young cub's flayed, but the she-fox shifting her hole is fled. The little jackanapes, the boy's brained.

KING Sebastian?

BALTHAZAR He shall ne'r speak more Spanish.

KING Thou teachest me to curse thee.

BALTHAZAR For a bargain you set your hand to.

KING Half my crown I'd lose were it undone.

BALTHAZAR But half a crown! That's nothing. His brains stick in my conscience more than yours.

KING How lost I the French doctor?

BALTHAZAR As Frenchmen lose their hair. Here was too hot staying for him.

KING Get thou from my sight, the Queen would see thee.

BALTHAZAR Your gold, Sir.

KING Go with Judas and repent.

BALTHAZAR So men hate whores after lust's heat is spent. I'm gone, Sir.

KING Tell me true, is he dead?


KING No matter. 'Tis but morning of revenge, The sunset shall be red and tragical.

Exit King.

BALTHAZAR Sin is a raven croaking her own fall.

Exit Balthazar.


Enter Medina, Daenia, Alba, Carlo and The Faction with Rosemary in their hats.

MEDINA Keep locked the door, and let none enter to us But who shares our fortunes.

DAENIA Lock the doors.

ALBA What entertainment did the King bestow Upon your letters and the Cardinal's?

MEDINA With a devouring eye he read them o'er, Swallowing our offers into his empty bosom, As gladly as the parched earth drinks healths Out of the cup of heaven.

CARLO Little suspecting What dangers closely lie enambushed.

DAENIA Let us not trust to that. There's in his breast Both fox and lion, and both these beasts can bite. We must not now behold the narrowest loop-hole, But presently suspect a winged bullet Flies whizzing by our ears.

MEDINA For when I let The plummet fall to sound his very soul In his close-chamber, being French-Doctor like, He to the Cardinal's ear sung sorcerous notes, The burden of his song, to mine, was death, Onaelia's murder, and Sebastian's. And think you his voice alters now? 'Tis strange, To see how brave this tyrant shows in court, Throned like a god. Great men are pretty stars, When his rays shine, wonder fills up all eyes By sight of him, let him but once check sin, About him round all cry, oh excellent King! Oh Saint-like man! But, let this King retire Into his closet to put off his robes, He like a player leaves his part too. Open his breast, and with a sunbeam search it, There's no such man. This King of gilded clay, Within is ugliness, lust, treachery, And a base soul, though reared Colossus-like.

Balthazar beats to come.

DAENIA None till he speaks, and that we know his voice. Who are you?

BALTHAZAR (within) An honest house-keeper in Rosemary Lane too, if you dwell in the same parish.

MEDINA Oh 'tis our honest soldier, give him entrance.

BALTHAZAR Men show like coarses, for I meet few but are stuck with Rosemary. Every one asked me who was married today, and I told them Adultery and Repentance, and that Shame and a Hangman followed them to church.

MEDINA There's but two parts to play, shame has done hers, But execution must close up the scene, And for that cause these sprigs are worn by all, Bags of marriage, now of funeral, For death this day turns courtier.

BALTHAZAR Who must dance with him?

MEDINA The King, and all that are our opposites. That dart or this must fly into the court Either to shoot this blazing star from Spain, Or else so long to wrap him up in clouds, Till all the fatal fires in him burn out, Leaving his state and conscience clear from doubt Of following uproars.

ALBA Kill not, but surprise him.

CARLO That's my voice still.

MEDINA Thine, soldier?

BALTHAZAR Oh, this colic of a kingdom, when the wind of treason gets amongst the small guts, what a rumbling and a roaring it keeps. And yet, make the best of it you can, it goes on stinking. Kill a King?


BALTHAZAR If men should pull the sun out of heaven every time 'tis eclipsed, not all the wax nor tallow in Spain would serve to make us candles for one year.

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